New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 General Info
The New Balance 1080 fresh foam brings fresh foam technology to the 1080 for the first time.
Their intention is to take the 1080 series to a whole new level by introducing state of the art technology packaged within its fresh foam midsole.
New Balance places a strong emphasis on how fresh foam was designed by collecting biomechanical data from runners such as wear tendencies and force patterns and directly using that information to create a one piece midsole.
They consider this new way of midsole design a smarter way of designing soles because they are able to actually pinpoint where runners need support and cushioning.
As a result of this new design process the fresh foam midsoles are able, in New Balances words, to deliver a supremely cushioned underfoot feel that respects and maintains a runners need to engage with the ride itself.
The upper of the 1080 fresh foam is also newly designed with an engineered mesh. It is designed to accommodate various instep heights and foot volumes and securely wrap the midfoot.
This shoe looks really nice. It’s not often that I unbox a running shoe and think it actually looks nice and I would wear it outside of a running atmosphere. The foam is thick and the shoe has a wide base.
The upper is made of various mesh materials that are woven together. When I put them on for the first time the cushioning felt firmer than I had expected.
The upper was very comfortable and left a good amount of room in the toe area which I like.
New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 Sole Unit
The fresh foam midsole is thick and supportive. This shoe has a wide base so it feels stable. The midsole is all one piece of foam that has a nice shape that fits my foot well.
When I ran in the shoe I found the cushioning to be a little firm for my liking. New Balance advertises this shoe as delivering a soft ride and I had trouble feeling that softness.
It felt firmer than I am used to with a highly cushioned shoe. Again not rock hard firm but certainly not soft.
From researching reviews of other fresh foam shoes, I knew the cushioning would not be super soft but I didn’t expect it to feel as firm as it did. It just didn’t have that nice comfortable soft ride I was hoping for.
The midsole and insole feel like they conform to the bottom of my foot perfectly so the new design process has given New Balance the ability to make a midsole that I would say is “shaped” perfectly in regards to stability and flexibility.
It has 2 well placed grooves in the forefoot of the outsole that form flex points allowing the shoe to have a smooth ride. Where I’d say it could improve is in the softness of the cushioning.
With the relatively recent surge of max cushioning shoes people are starting to really appreciate feeling a soft midsole with a smooth ride. The ride is smooth and the shoe flexes well but its missing that softness.
I knew not to expect Hoka-like softness but I certainly expected softer cushioning than what the fresh foam provides. I didn’t notice anything new, exciting, or impressive in this midsole that sets it apart from others.
I actually found this shoe to have a firmer ride than a lot of other everyday training shoes that I have run in.
New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 Upper Info
This shoe fits true to size. Everything about the upper screams comfort. It is composed of stretchy mesh materials with plush, soft fabric used in the heel area. When I initially put this shoe on I was highly impressed.
The mesh materials used are forgiving and able to stretch with the shape of your foot. It hugs the midfoot and opens up nicely in the toe box area allowing room for toe splay.
The plush tongue of the shoe has a piece of soft fabric on each side that attaches it to the base of the upper giving this shoe a sock like feel. All of these features that this upper are comprised of seemed really promising until I ran in the shoe.
As I ran in the shoe more I came across a rubbing issue. While the mesh was flexible and able to stretch to the contour of your foot, I found that this flexibility was was mostly on the top and outside of the upper.
The medial side (inside) of the upper could also stretch but to a much lesser extent.
I found that the medial side right near the ball of my foot was stretching this mesh to its capacity which resulted in what felt like my foot rubbing and pounding against a firm strip of fabric.
There is also a seam located in this general area that attaches the New Balance logo to the side of the shoe which could also be part of the problem.
The thread attaching the logo to the shoe is causing the mesh to be less flexible in that area and causing a hot spot. I was also able to feel that the midsole extends into the upper in this area as well.
This basically creates a 1-2 mm lip of midsole that causes an area of irritation. This created blistering on both feet, and this was after a 5 mile run.
This is actually the first shoe thats caused blistering like this that I have tested. This came as a complete surprise because when I initially put the shoe on before running it felt extremely comfortable. Your mileage might vary.
New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 Conclusions
I really couldn’t believe it when I started to feel the hot spots while running in this shoe. I would have bet anything from the feel of that upper that this shoe was going to be a hit and that I would have really liked it.
They missed the mark by allowing that seam to show itself (I have included a picture above). It just made this shoe really uncomfortable for me to run in.
I tried to give it a chance but it just didn’t impress me, and I probably won’t run in it again. The ride was smooth enough but a little too firm for my liking. Overall I cannot describe the shoe as anything more than average at best.
When you factor in the price of the shoe its really hard to see the value. Since the shoe has a relatively firm ride there really would be no reason to purchase it over any other daily trainer.
I would much rather run in something with the soft and cushy ride of the Nike Pegasus or shoes similar to that than pay extra for a shoe that won’t provide the same amount of comfort.
Especially when we are talking about a shoe built for the long haul. I haven’t had the opportunity to run in the Fresh Foam 980.
From what I’ve read the general opinion was that it was a little too firm. The Fresh Foam 1080 still feels too firm to me.
We thank the nice people at New Balance for sending us a pair of Fresh Foam 1080 to test. This did not influence the outcome of the review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.